Megawide Construction Corporation | APEA - Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Edgar Saavedra
Chairman and CEO


Megawide Construction Corporation
www.megawide.com.ph


Twenty-year journey in the industry
Edgar Saavedra is constantly in motion. He moves unceasingly from one meeting to the next, from office to factory, from board room to construction site. He instinctively carries out age-old engineering rituals wherever he goes: knocking on walls, measuring corners, checking for an even finish. Though he may be an engineer by profession, his calling as an entrepreneur has always been stronger. Finding opportunity in crisis, taking the road less travelled, and embracing change are markers of his more than twenty-year journey in the industry.

He was born in Margosatubig, a small municipality in Zamboanga del Sur. His upbringing instilled values of independence and entrepreneurship from an early age. Edgar graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the De La Salle University in 1995.

Opportunity in crisis: the beginnings of Megawide
Megawide was established in 1997 as a construction firm, at the height of the Asian Financial Crisis. Despite warnings about starting a business in that economy, Edgar and his partner persevered out of youthful idealism and bullishness. Seeing opportunity rather than hardship, they were able to hire unemployed professionals looking for jobs; and with market prices down, equipment was readily available at less cost. They also embraced the advent of the internet, which they used to network with engineering professionals globally. “We wanted to change the way structures were built in the Philippines and we wanted to do it our own way,” declared Edgar.

A different road: investing in construction technologies
Megawide was competing against bigger and more established companies, and entering an industry steeped in conventional practices. But Megawide had a spirit of innovation and non-tradition. “We had nothing to lose and we weren’t afraid to learn from mistakes,” he said. So, they chose a different path and explored technologies from Europe and Japan that would help them build more efficiently and with greater value. They connected with a consultant online who recommended German formwork systems that were not only more precise than wooden formworks, but reusable too. Precast systems soon followed, and a fleet of automated logistics and construction equipment. Megawide’s dedication to innovation soon paid off when it bagged two of the industry’s biggest projects in one year. Megawide pioneered the use of these technologies in the Philippines, and the projects continued to come.

Ensuring stability: diversification into infrastructure
Construction, however, is a naturally cyclical business. Megawide needed more stable, recurring revenue streams to reach the next level. In 2011, the company listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange to fund its expansion into a new arena — infrastructure.

From the proceeds, the company built its precast factory, one of the largest and most advanced in Southeast Asia. Megawide’s first infrastructure foray was the construction of almost 10,000 classrooms in 27 Luzon provinces. It then won the 25-year contract to develop the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and the 35-year contract to develop the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange. Megawide is currently constructing the new Clark International Airport terminal.

As Chairman and CEO, Edgar leads the creation and implementation of the company’s overall strategic direction. He now directs close to 5,000 employees in more than 30 sites nationwide. Edgar also personally heads Megawide’s engineering research and development.

Engineering A First World Philippines
It was a conscious choice to change the company’s vision, mission, and values to affirm its commitment to developing Philippine engineering and infrastructure. “We will be a First-World Philippines” is Megawide’s vision, which it aims to achieve through its mission to be at the forefront of engineering excellence and innovation.

Having been in the business more than 20 years, Edgar says one of the most rewarding aspects of entrepreneurship is having the opportunity to become the best in your field and with it, gaining opportunities to make instrumental changes in your community. “The first few years of your business, I think it’s natural to be satisfied with making money. After all, you established the business as a means of living,” he said. “But after 20 years, and you’ve already seen the returns, you start to ask yourself, “how much more do you need?”

Edgar is now changing work practices in Megawide by starting to embed CSR into the company’s daily processes, a move, he says, that will ensure Megawide can make a bigger impact on its community. “Why have just have three people overseeing company CSR when we can have 3,000 people doing it together? We’re embedding the practice of CSR into the work processes in every site so that each individual will be able to help the community.”

When asked about his remarkable success over the years, Go looks back and shares that he relies on three main principles: customer obsession, identifying pain points, and making life easier for people. “These three things are very important to keep an organization going. I always think that being a non-bureaucratic, flexible organization matters a lot. It was true then, and it’s even more important now that the organization is very big.” He adds that the best part of his job is the constant challenge to innovate and to pursue new opportunities.

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Edgar Saavedra
Chairman and CEO

Twenty-year journey in the industry
Edgar Saavedra is constantly in motion. He moves unceasingly from one meeting to the next, from office to factory, from board room to construction site. He instinctively carries out age-old engineering rituals wherever he goes: knocking on walls, measuring corners, checking for an even finish. Though he may be an engineer by profession, his calling as an entrepreneur has always been stronger. Finding opportunity in crisis, taking the road less travelled, and embracing change are markers of his more than twenty-year journey in the industry.

He was born in Margosatubig, a small municipality in Zamboanga del Sur. His upbringing instilled values of independence and entrepreneurship from an early age. Edgar graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the De La Salle University in 1995.

Opportunity in crisis: the beginnings of Megawide
Megawide was established in 1997 as a construction firm, at the height of the Asian Financial Crisis. Despite warnings about starting a business in that economy, Edgar and his partner persevered out of youthful idealism and bullishness. Seeing opportunity rather than hardship, they were able to hire unemployed professionals looking for jobs; and with market prices down, equipment was readily available at less cost. They also embraced the advent of the internet, which they used to network with engineering professionals globally. “We wanted to change the way structures were built in the Philippines and we wanted to do it our own way,” declared Edgar.

A different road: investing in construction technologies
Megawide was competing against bigger and more established companies, and entering an industry steeped in conventional practices. But Megawide had a spirit of innovation and non-tradition. “We had nothing to lose and we weren’t afraid to learn from mistakes,” he said. So, they chose a different path and explored technologies from Europe and Japan that would help them build more efficiently and with greater value. They connected with a consultant online who recommended German formwork systems that were not only more precise than wooden formworks, but reusable too. Precast systems soon followed, and a fleet of automated logistics and construction equipment. Megawide’s dedication to innovation soon paid off when it bagged two of the industry’s biggest projects in one year. Megawide pioneered the use of these technologies in the Philippines, and the projects continued to come.


Megawide Construction Corporation
www.megawide.com.ph


Ensuring stability: diversification into infrastructure
Construction, however, is a naturally cyclical business. Megawide needed more stable, recurring revenue streams to reach the next level. In 2011, the company listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange to fund its expansion into a new arena — infrastructure.

From the proceeds, the company built its precast factory, one of the largest and most advanced in Southeast Asia. Megawide’s first infrastructure foray was the construction of almost 10,000 classrooms in 27 Luzon provinces. It then won the 25-year contract to develop the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and the 35-year contract to develop the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange. Megawide is currently constructing the new Clark International Airport terminal.

As Chairman and CEO, Edgar leads the creation and implementation of the company’s overall strategic direction. He now directs close to 5,000 employees in more than 30 sites nationwide. Edgar also personally heads Megawide’s engineering research and development.

Engineering A First World Philippines
It was a conscious choice to change the company’s vision, mission, and values to affirm its commitment to developing Philippine engineering and infrastructure. “We will be a First-World Philippines” is Megawide’s vision, which it aims to achieve through its mission to be at the forefront of engineering excellence and innovation.

Having been in the business more than 20 years, Edgar says one of the most rewarding aspects of entrepreneurship is having the opportunity to become the best in your field and with it, gaining opportunities to make instrumental changes in your community. “The first few years of your business, I think it’s natural to be satisfied with making money. After all, you established the business as a means of living,” he said. “But after 20 years, and you’ve already seen the returns, you start to ask yourself, “how much more do you need?”

Edgar is now changing work practices in Megawide by starting to embed CSR into the company’s daily processes, a move, he says, that will ensure Megawide can make a bigger impact on its community. “Why have just have three people overseeing company CSR when we can have 3,000 people doing it together? We’re embedding the practice of CSR into the work processes in every site so that each individual will be able to help the community.”

When asked about his remarkable success over the years, Go looks back and shares that he relies on three main principles: customer obsession, identifying pain points, and making life easier for people. “These three things are very important to keep an organization going. I always think that being a non-bureaucratic, flexible organization matters a lot. It was true then, and it’s even more important now that the organization is very big.” He adds that the best part of his job is the constant challenge to innovate and to pursue new opportunities.